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McAfee Survey Reveals We Have about $37K of Unprotected Digital Assets

Today, McAfee announced the results of the McAfee Digital Assets Survey
( that assessed the attitudes of Internet users all over the world on topics such as Web security and data protection. It found that Canadian consumers value their digital assets (entertainment files, photo libraries and personal information) at more than $48,000, compared to the global average of $37,438. Twenty-seven (27) per cent of those assets were considered “impossible to restore” if lost and not backed up properly, yet more than one third of Internet users worldwide lack protection and security on their Internet-connected devices.


McAfee Reveals Average Global Internet User Owns More Than $37,000 in Underprotected ‘Digital Assets’

But consumers still don’t adequately protect these assets across all their digital devices

MARKHAM, ON – September 27, 2011 – McAfee (NASDAQ:INTC) today released the results of a new global study to assess the attitudes of Internet users all over the world when it comes to such topics as Web security and data protection. The McAfee Digital Assets Survey revealed that users place an average value of $37,438 on the “digital assets” they own across multiple digital devices, such as entertainment files, photo libraries and personal information. In Canada, people valued their assets at more than $48,000 (infographic: Astonishingly, however, more than one third of global Internet users lack protection across all of those devices.

Research firm MSI International surveyed more than 3,000 Internet users in 10 countries about the financial value they assign to digital assets as well as their attitudes toward protecting them across computers, tablets and smartphones. The research showed that on average, respondents had 2,777 digital files stored on at least one digital device, and 27 per cent of those assets were considered “impossible to retrieve” if lost and not backed up properly. Additionally, according to a recent Leger Marketing survey* commissioned by McAfee Canada, only 21.6 per cent of Canadians believe they are protected from the increasing number of threats on the Internet.

“In this day and age, most of our personal and professional lives dwell in cyber space,” said Brenda Moretto, Manager of Canadian Consumers Sales at McAfee. “From photos to bank statements to online passwords and other personal information, it would be devastating to lose it all because you didn’t take advantage of the smart technology that’s built to protect you.”

Despite the high financial and emotional value of their assets stored in various places, 32 per cent of global Internet users who don’t use security protection on all of their devices still don’t think they need it. Respondents also cited cost as another reason for their reluctance to purchase security protection for all of their gadgets (31 per cent). However, 86 per cent of people did agree that purchasing security protection was money well spent.

As the number of Internet-connected devices available to users continues to explode, it is contributing to rapid changes in the consumer-facing threat landscape.

  • McAfee found that 25 per cent of worldwide Internet users now own at least five devices per household, and 60 per cent of households own at least three.
  • According to Consumer Reports, malware cost U.S. consumers $2.3 billion last year and caused them to replace 1.3 million PCs. Not only have hackers continued to target PCs, but with the increased popularity of tablets, smartphones and Macs, threats are becoming increasingly common and complex for non-PC devices. For example, according to McAfee Labs, malware targeted at Android devices jumped 76 per cent in the last three months.

“Consumers recognize the value of their digital assets. While they are more likely to secure their PCs, they often neglect protection for their other Internet-enabled devices,” said Moretto. “It’s like installing an expensive home security alarm on the front door, but leaving the windows and back door wide open. It just takes one open window to allow a virus, hacker, or identity thief to wipe out all the digital assets on any given device, having their personal and financial info compromised as a result.”

McAfee is addressing the growing digital needs of today’s consumers by launching McAfee All Access, the industry’s first cross-device security product that protects multiple Internet-enabled devices (PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets) under one annual plan.

Key Findings from the McAfee “Digital Assets” Survey

Living in a Multi-Device World

  • Twenty-five (25) per cent of Internet users worldwide now own at least five devices per household, and 60 per cent of households own at least three.
  • Forty-one (41) per cent spend more than 20 hours per week using a digital device for personal use.

The Financial and Emotional Value of Digital Assets

  • Regionally, North American respondents (Canada and U.S.) had the highest perceived value of their total digital assets, with an average cited value of $52,154 ($47,074 in Canada).
  • This is compared with an average value of $28,461 across Europe (U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands), $20,948 in Australia, and $23,938 in Japan.
  • As a global average, respondents had 2,777 digital files stored on at least one digital device, at a total value of $37,438.
    o These assets included entertainment files (e.g. music downloads), personal memories (e.g. photographs), personal communications (e.g. emails or notes), personal records (e.g. health, financial, insurance records), career information (e.g. resumes, portfolios, cover letters, email contacts) and hobbies and creative projects.
  • Twenty-seven (27) per cent of those assets were considered “impossible to restore” if lost and not backed up properly, and had an average value of $10,014.
  • Respondents predicted it would take them on average 82 hours to restore their digital assets if lost.

Personal Memories Trump Entertainment in Digital Value

  • Personal memories, such as photographs, are the main digital asset that respondents categorized as “impossible to restore” if lost and not backed up (73 per cent). Respondents valued personal memories at an average of $18,919, compared to:
    o $6,956 for Personal Records
    o $3,798 for Career Information
    o $2,848 for Hobbies and Projects
    o $2,825 for Personal Communications
    o $2,092 for Entertainment Files

Attitudes toward Online Security and Protection

  • Despite the high value of their digital assets, people still aren’t securing every device they own. The McAfee Digital Assets Survey found that more than one third of people (36 per cent) don’t have security protection on all of their devices and seven per cent have no protection at all – leaving potentially thousands of dollars worth of digital assets at risk, if stored on an unprotected device.
  • Although 86 per cent of respondents agreed that purchasing protection of their digital assets is money well spent, in general, less than 50 per cent of respondents purchase security solutions as the main way of protecting all or some of their devices.
  • Thirty-nine (39) per cent use only free protection on their devices (to protect some or all of them), with another 10 per cent using a combination of paid and free solutions. However, when it comes to security software, free is not better. A September 2010 USA TODAY survey of 16 anti-virus companies shows that no-cost anti-virus programs generally lack important features such as a firewall, website health checks and automatic updates.
  • Cost is one of the main reasons people don’t purchase additional security protection (31 per cent), but the leading factor is a perceived lack of need for such software (32 per cent).
  • Despite the evolving threats across devices like tablets, smartphones and Macs, and the high value of the files stored on these devices, 40 per cent of all respondents do not worry much about their protection.

* The online survey of 1,500 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, was completed over the period May 24-26, 2011 by Leger Marketing. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About McAfee
McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), is the world’s largest dedicated security technology company. McAfee delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that help secure systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world, allowing users to safely connect to the Internet, browse and shop the Web more securely. Backed by its unrivaled Global Threat Intelligence, McAfee creates innovative products that empower home users, businesses, the public sector and service providers by enabling them to prove compliance with regulations, protect data, prevent disruptions, identify vulnerabilities, and continuously monitor and improve their security.

McAfee is relentlessly focused on constantly finding new ways to keep our customers safe.

McAfee Canada is headquartered in Markham, Ontario, with regional offices across Canada. The company’s Consumer Software Research and Development facility is based in Waterloo, Ontario.

Note: McAfee is a registered trademark or trademark of McAfee, or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. © 2011 McAfee All rights reserved.